The Divine "BE"
Dr. Gasser Hathout, July 17, 2005

E = mc2. This notion of special relativity was entirely new. Energy is equivalent to matter.

Before that the energy and matter were thought to be entirely separate parts of creation. Aristotle considered four elements i.e. earth, wind, fire and water and claimed that they have nothing to do with each other. He
considered that they are four unique building blocks of which things are built.

Einstein said, "No, energy and matter are really different forms of same thing. Matter is a condensed energy and it can be released." This brought in a major revolution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALE (voice-over): Among the claims of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, single, elegant equation
E= MC-SQUARED.

FAY DOWKER, UNIV. OF LONDON: One of the major questions in cosmology and astrophysics, how the chemical elements came to the universe.

MALE (voice-over): The 'E' stands for Energy; "M" for Matter; 'C' is the Speed of Light. According to Einstein, just as heat and light are different forms of energy, so is matter itself.

DOWKER: So energy is never lost or in fact gained. It's just transformed from one form into another. You can't actually prove that mass can be completely converted into energy using special relativity. But Einstein made
that conceptual leap, and conjectured that, that was in fact true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

This is central to an objection that the scientists of the day were levying against the Bible until 1905 when this theory of special relativity was published.

And that was in the Bible and subsequently in the Quran, we see something that the people who write about called it the Divine "Be". Allah has the capacity to create something. He says, "Be", and it is. This was really a
huge issue.

The theory of conservation of matter states that the matter is never created or destroyed. It just changes from one form to another. When you burn the wood, it become carbon, atoms and smoke and so on but the matter is never created or destroyed.

The scientists said the notion of divine 'Be", Creation Ex Nihilo i.e. creation out of nothing violates the theory of conservation of matter. One can change matter from one form to another but one can not create matter out
of nothing. This was a major objection.

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is. (Quran 19:35)

Based on the theory of special relativity, energy and matter are one and all of a sudden a matter can pop up out of nothing, when energy is condensed.

Allah, who is the source of infinite energy, can simply choose at that point to condense the energy into matter so that the matter appears out of nowhere.

We human beings have actually managed to recreate this phenomenon by ourselves, those who have studied physics or those who ever had a Positron Emission Tomogram (PET) scan could appreciate this fact.

PET scan functions by positrons. Positrons are the product of nucleus decay. They are a particle of matter that arises out of energy changes in the nucleus. They pop up out of nothing and they iron out into electron and turn
back into energy. So even today we are able to see this process in action. Hence the Quran does not violate the current scientific understanding.

The more we know the Quran, we can understand better.


Excerpts from the "Quran & Science" sunday lecture addressed by Dr. Gasser Hathout at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles on July 17, 2005.